Multi Million Dollar Restoration of Cairos Gezira Palace

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Videos Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Cairos famed Gezira Palace in the heart of the Cairo Marriott Hotel is set to undergo a meticulous, multi-million-dollar, two-year restoration designed to reclaim its resplendent brilliance while re-imagining its long-held traditions of hospitality.

The Gezira Palace was originally built as a luxurious guest house to accommodate royal guests among whom was the Empress Eugenie of France on her visit to Egypt for the 1869 inauguration of the Suez Canal. Its storied past includes hosting numerous heads of state and lavish social events.

Complementing it at the time on Zamalek Island were a zoo, luxuriant gardens and lawns, statues by Europes most prominent sculptors and priceless paintings. Its interior was inspired by the Oriental style of the time and traditional Islamic motifs and architectural features. Its dcor carefully balanced French and Oriental fabrics, furniture and artifacts shipped in from different parts of the world, specifically Germany, France and Italy.

Over the years, despite several changes in ownership, the Palace has always been treated with care and respect, ensuring preservation of its cultural heritage, unique architecture and royal history. In 1982 the Palace became the heart of the current Cairo Marriott Hotel.

At that time, a group of historical and conservation experts spent months making a complete inventory of the Palaces treasures and drafting plans for restoration efforts. A cast-iron fountain was rescued, along with the grand marble staircase, six clocks, several paintings including a portrait of Eugenie and a marble table from the time of Louis XIV. A team of 75 painters spent months re-gilding the high ceilings. Even what remained of the original gardens was restored to some of their former glory. In 1982, the Cairo Marriott officially opened with two modern guest room towers embracing the fully restored Palace. 

The Gezira Palace is the heart and soul of the Cairo Marriott Hotel. It provides our guests with the chance to visit and explore a living palace. It is an environment rich in period details, dramatic open gardens and architectural treasures, transporting our guests to a different place and time even while serving their every day needs, said Cairo Marriott Hotel General Manager Rick Zeolla.

As we embark on our journey of redefining this cultural masterpiece, we are committed to protecting, preserving and celebrating its rich cultural and architectural history as one of Egypts most revered national treasures, he said. Our goal is to seamlessly integrate the business of the hotel while honoring its period details and precious antiquities to allow the beauty and the grandeur of the original Palace to shine through for each and every guest.

Aly Abdel Aziz, chairman and chief executive officer of the Holding Company for Tourism, Hotels and Cinema, added, This hotel is a unique property because of its historic significance. The Holding Company is very committed to the restoration projects taking place at the Cairo Marriott Hotel as part of the asset management program and vision of the company. The project will retain the historic sentiments of this iconic hotel and essentially will enhance the physical and emotional overall experience of the hotel to what it once was. Although it is a considerable investment on our part, we strongly believe that it is one which yields greater economical and emotional rewards.

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